Last summer, the Kroger supermarket chain launched a special section of its website dedicated to "Grilling and Chilling" with meals and menus designed for the season of cookouts, pool parties, and downing cold beers with friends. One of its recipes was for "The Ultimate Corona Burger," which scored its name because the ingredient list included six ounces of Corona Extra beer.
Fast-forward less than a year, and cookouts aren't happening, pool parties might be acceptable by mid-to-late summer if we're lucky, and drinking with friends is basically drinking alone, but during a group chat. And when a Hanoi pizza joint says that it's serving a Coronaburger, that means something else entirely.
Pizza Home, a restaurant in the Vietnamese capital, recently came up with the idea for a burger that looks like the coronavirus, because eating something that makes you consider an international health crisis with every single bite is supposed to be… uplifting? "Amid all the bad news about the Covid-19 pandemic, we decided to make this Coronaburger to make people feel happier,” Dang Van Khu, a Pizza Home baker told the Vietnam News Agency.
The burger's top bun is carefully assembled by hand and it's studded with the signature spikes that give the coronavirus—"corona" is Latin for "crown"—its name. (RIP to the roof of everyone's mouth.) The dough is made with sweet green tea leaves so that it has a pale green appearance, but the color is significantly more noticeable before the buns are baked.
"We have this joke that if you are scared of something, you should eat it,” Pizza Home chef Hoang Tung told Reuters. "That’s why the coronavirus isn’t scary anymore after you eat a burger in the shape of the virus itself. That way of thinking spreads joy to others during this pandemic." (Personally, I'm afraid of dying alone, but I'm not sure how one turns that into an entree.)
Although most restaurants and other non-essential businesses in Hanoi have been closed due to fears over the spread of coronavirus, Pizza Home is take-out only, so it's still open. It has also sold roughly 50 Coronaburgers since Tung launched the concept, and sales have increased by around 5 percent.
As of this writing, there are 148 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Vietnam, including 14 cases that were diagnosed within the past 24 hours. With all respect to Tung and Pizza Home, it's hard not to look forward to the day when Coronaburgers are off the menu entirely.